Bishop Kemme: Be fully alive in Christ, be disciples
Bishop Carl A. Kemme urged those attending the Midwest Catholic Family Conference to embrace their faith with renewed vigor and devotion.
“I pray that this experience and our worship together will continue to inspire you to live your Catholic faith in bolder and greater measures as we seek to be fully alive in Christ as his missionary disciples, who from the cross entrusted Mary to us and invited us to behold her as our mother, the theme of this annual conference,” he said.
Mary, our intercessor
“May Mary, who is our mother and our Lord’s most faithful disciple, give us her powerful intercession, witness, and motherly love as we follow Jesus to where…no earthly mountain, but to the mountain of God’s glory in eternal life.”
The theme of the conference was Behold Your Mother.
Several thousand of the faithful took part in the Sunday morning Mass on Aug. 6 in the Convention Hall at the Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center in Wichita. The 23rd Annual Midwest Catholic Family Conference took place Friday through Sunday, Aug. 4-6.
Drawing from the day’s Gospel account of Jesus’ transfiguration on Mount Tabor, Bishop Kemme reflected on the profound impact of the event on the apostles.
“It was there that Jesus chose to reveal his glory to Peter, James, and John in the mystical presence of Moses and Elijah. It was an otherworldly experience for these men…to strengthen and prepare them for the soon approaching scandal of the cross.”
Bishop Kemme said the apostles’ extraordinary experience would be challenged as they saw Jesus led away to be crucified. “But they would not forget this moment that came back to them again and again as they went forth now filled with the Holy Spirit to preach and to baptize in the name of Jesus.”
Seek your transfiguration
The bishop urged the congregation to seek their moments of transfiguration, to strengthen them for the path that lies ahead, for the uncertainty of the times, and for the trials and tribulations of the crosses they will encounter.
“We need, more than any of us can know or comprehend, our own otherworldly moment with Christ on a mountain to help us to see his divinity shining through his humanity,” he said, adding that that moment is the Mass.
The Mass is our Transfiguration
“The Mass is our moment of transfiguration. Let us not miss it or dismiss it as only an obligation or consider it as a merely symbolic that when completed, we can go on and do the other things we want in our lives. No. The Mass is a moment of extraordinary power, importance, and necessity if we wish to grow in grace and devotion, if we, like the Apostles, wish to fulfill the mission of the church now entrusted to us, through our various vocations and states and stages of life.”
Bishop Kemme urged the faithful to reclaim Sunday as the Day of the Lord, one of the priorities of the diocesan Pastoral Plan. He implored them to prioritize worship and rest on Sunday, refraining from unnecessary work and busyness. “Sunday is not mine or yours to do with as we please. It belongs to God,” he said.
Sunday is for worship
The Lord commanded us to observe this day as it was intended by doing two things,” Bishop Kemme said. “The first is worship. Worship is what is right and just and it is what we creatures owe to God, the creator, to offer to God fitting and authentic worship by attending and participating in the Mass – not as something we need to fit in or get done as easily or as conveniently as possible, but as that which we should do with our whole heart and soul.”
Every Sunday should find us making our way back to God as to a mountain to encounter him at Mass and to offer God the gifts we have been given, he said.
“Nothing else can take the Mass’s place and nothing else on this day is as important or as vital for our salvation and holiness of life than the Mass. This is why I am urging us as a diocese to make the Mass – especially the Sunday celebration of the Mass – a reverent and transcendent experience when we as God’s people bring ourselves into an encounter of otherworldly beauty and meaning, with ritual and song that uplifts and inspires us, that transfigures us, if you will, and transmits us to another place: there on a mountain with God in Christ surrounded by a cloud of heavenly witnesses.”
Sunday is for rest, family
Bishop Kemme also emphasized Sunday as a day of rest, a day to refrain from unnecessary work to spend with family and friends.
“I am convinced that if we lived this way, so much of our anxiety and servitude to work and busyness will gradually melt away and we will be more at peace and in control, since we have taken the time we need to restore ourselves, first in the Mass and then in a significant measure of rest and relaxation.”
In doing so the faithful will experience something like what Peter, James, and John experienced on the mountain with Jesus, the bishop said, “A moment of glory, a moment frozen in their minds and memories of a time when all things are new and then you too will say from a heart, rested, restored and at peace.”
Dr. Ray Guarendi entertained and educated
Catholic radio host and psychologist Dr. Ray Guarendi talked about family and the faith over the weekend. Fr. Robert Spitzer, host of Fr. Spitzer’s Universe on EWTN, spoke about Eucharistic and Marian miracles.
Jesuit Fr. Dennis McManus, a parochial vicar at the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland, California, and a professor of theology at St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park, California, talked about the papacy of Pope Francis. In another presentation, he talked about magic, the occult, and witchcraft in our culture.
Pro-life speaker Dr. Pat Castle talked about modern healthcare and living pro-life with heroic virtue. Fr. Lawrence Carney, a priest of the Diocese of Wichita, talked about “The Secret of the Holy Face of Jesus” and shared stories about his walks as a missionary priest.
Counselor Catherine DiNuzzo talked about anxiety with adults and youth. Professor of philosophy Fr. Sebastian Walshe, a frequent guest on the radio show Catholic Answers Live, talked about keeping children Catholic about marriage and family to adults, and holiness and sanctity to the youth.